’10 places not to see before you die’ — you’ve seen at least one

BART: Pigeons ride free
Photo by Flickr user anitakhart

You’ve been engaged in the NYC Subway vs. Muni gross-a-thon since yesterday, talkin’ trash about most disgusting thing you’ve seen on transit in New York or San Francisco. The trash-talking doesn’t stop here, though. We came across this Salon article on “10 places not to see before you die.” Guess what, you’ve been to at least one of them! Check out #3.

Let’s start with the carpet. Why would Bay Area Rapid Transit, one of the country’s busiest commuter rail systems, decide it was a good idea to upholster the floor?

The result is Eau de BART, the stomach-turning scent that hits you in the face every time you board a train to San Francisco.

Oh man. Our transit system is getting dissed…nationally! Okay, I agree that the cloth seats are a bad idea. What’s more barftastic: BART, Muni, or the NYC subway?

(Thanks for the tip, reader Dave)


  • They are phasing out the carpets though.

    Besides, the new trains won’t have carpets or upholstered seats, afaik.

  • eugenia

    Yup I think yesterday in the comments people have said that the carpets are being phased out. But though the carpets are being ripped away, the seats on the older trains are still the gross cloth…eeeeek! I remember seeing an ad for BART at one of the Prelinger Archives talks, advertising how comfortable BART is, with the plush seats and reading lamps. Yes, reading lamps. I assume those were phased out or axed quickly.

  • BART is plagued by being a hybrid system. Many use it for a regional commuter-type experience (read: Pittsburg to downtown SF) and pay through the wazoo. Whereas, if you’re like me and lucky enough to live on a BART line in SF, you use it to zip to point B in SF that happens to be along the BART line also. And yes, I totally prefer carpetless (TWSS). Clothless-seats would be a godsend, but this is the first I’m hearing of it.

    For $1.75 within SF, BART still can’t be beat. Except for the fact that it doesn’t go many places.

    CAPTCHA somehow fitting: achoo He

    • Brandon

      Despite the $1.75 (or $10 added to a muni monthly pass for unlimited rides) im guessing that the SF portion of BART is profitable, and subsidizes the other parts of the system. This is why BART should build a Geary line, it would be a hell of a lot better than anything Muni can do, and would MAKE THEM MONEY, which they could then put towards extensions at the ends of the lines (Livermore, etc) which will always be money losers.

  • I’ll agree that carpeting & upholstery were both bad moves on BART’s part, but I spent last summer in NYC, & eating on the subway is WAY out of control there. So while we have old carpet stench, NYC has all-day fast food nastiness stench, which I, personally, found to be worse (esp. when combined with riders’ smacking, eating sounds). [Shudder]

  • tara

    DUDE, no. Absolutely no to a pigeon in BART.

  • AnthonyV

    Did anybody think to check the pigeon for proof of fare? I think eating on public transportation in itself has to be the grossest thing. How anybody sit on a bart or muni line and stick food in their mouth is beyond me.

  • Maxi

    So a streetperson, not in their right mind, whip it out and start to piss. Right there in the back row. I have never sat in the back row of any car ever since.

  • Shelley

    NYC subway is far more disgusting. There is no contest. If you’re not smelling urine while you are waiting/getting off the train, then something’s wrong. SF underground is nicer, more pleasant, and less crowded with people who smell like urine.

    NYC Metro might be more efficient, but MUNI smells better. Take your pick.

  • Henry Larry

    BARTs carpeting might be questionable but it is nothing compared to the sights and smells of the NYC subway during rush hour. It is like a whole different level of adventure.
    Drywall contractor in London Ontario

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